Thursday, November 20, 2008

Coverage of Jersey in the press

Richard Webster's blog inlcudes an interesting discussion of the treatment of the 'murder inquiry that wasn't' in last week's press. He pertinently points out that

...the invocation of evil is too often used to justify all manner of shortcomings on the part of those who crusade against it. Because, in our own culture, we seem to have adopted child abuse as our ultimate evil, the assumption is frequently made that actions which are less than entirely scrupulous can be justified so long as they are aimed at defeating this evil.

While the conspiracy theorists are letting rip about cover-ups and the like, it is perhaps pointing out one more plausible explanation for the nature and timing of the police's announcment. A couple of weeks ago the Jersey Evening Post reported that defence lawyers for the two people so far charged as a result of the child abuse inquiry were arguing that their clients could not get a fair trial because of the media publicity about the case.

Perhaps the police hope that by separating the specific evidence in individual cases from the falsehoods of the 'House of horrors' media sensation they are more likely to achieve successful prosecutions in those cases where there is compelling evidence of abuse. Whichever way, the tactics adopted by Lenny Harper and his supporters have probably hindered rather than helped the victims of abuse and reduced the likelihood of bringing abusers to justice.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Jersey revelations should come as no surprise

At Spiked online and on his own blog, Richard Webster points out that the conclusions of Jersey police's recent statement 'could in fact have been reached by any journalist who had sceptically studied the evidence about Haut de la Garenne already in the public domain'.

Webster was of course responsible for exposing the falsehood of the police's original claim that a child's skull had been found at the former children's home.

I hope to post at greater length on this issue (when I get around to it, as the saying is), but suffice to say for now that given the horror we all feel about child abuse and the sensitivity needed to investigate it, it's best if the police don't go out of their way to encourage media sensationalism on the basis of (at best) suspect information.